Nicolas Cage plays a somewhat fictionalized version of himself, channeling his iconic characters as he’s caught between a superfan arms dealer, and the Central Intelligence Agency.
THE GOOD STUFF
CAGE– This is going to be a positive review of this film. And because of that, it shouldn’t really have to be explained that this is mostly because of a wonderful performance from Nicolas Cage as… himself? This isn’t him making fun of his persona, nor is this him giving a big f*** you to the online fans / detractors that have created a Chuck Norris kind of a mythos about him over the past 10 or so years. Ultimately, this really is a tribute to the man. This is a movie that tells you over and over again just how much of a legend he is, and more than anything how he is a consummate artist, somewhat of a film snob, a man who loves his profession, and hates almost everything that comes with it, and by the way…a F****** GREAT ACTOR!
Cage does in this movie what he’s always done in his great performances. He brings gravity to where gravity probably shouldn’t be. No matter how zany the character is.
PEDRO PASCAL– Perhaps we should start readily acknowledging that Pedro Pascal is one of the more versatile actors working today. He is regularly in a lot of big high profile projects and he’s presented a lot of different angles to the characters that he plays no matter how good the movie itself is. He of course is in the mandalorian, and he will soon be in the television adaptation of The last of Us which is about as heavy as drama can possibly be.
Here, he is playing a lovable, goofy, arms dealer who is indefinitely the number one fan of Nicolas Cage. He and Cage have unbelievably great comic chemistry together, and I could have had an entire movie of them running around Spain on LSD honestly.
CGI NIC CAGE– One of the better parts about this movie are when it gets super meta and the younger imaginary friend of Nicolas Cage (a horrendous CGI rendition of his look during his performance in wild at heart) shows up, and things start getting weird. This is a full amalgamation of his Rage Cage persona, and it is oddly satisfying to watch given how many of these YouTube compilations I’ve watched of him doing exactly what he does with this… in film after film.
THE BAD STUFF
WASTED TALENT- I really don’t know what Ike Barinholtz and Tiffany Haddish are doing here other than being familiar faces that we’ve seen before playing roles that are absolutely disposable and could have went to literally any unknown actor. Neither of them are actually given anything comedic to do, and by all intents and purposes, they are plot devices rather than characters.
THE UGLY STUFF
Y’ALL– Of all the real cinephiles like myself that are out there, and of all the casual film goers as well…maybe about 10% of all of us (myself very much included) were rooting for Nic Cage. We knew he was the best part of that Edward Snowden movie, we knew that the noir version of Spider-Man was a highlight of SPIDERMAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE and we knew the resume. We understood that the resume was proof that this man is (not was) the massive talent that this movie advertises him to be. 90% of y’all dismissed him, questioned his acting ability, and I believe wrote a petition for him from y’all to rescind the Oscar that he won back in 96 for leaving Las Vegas. There’s going to be a lot you jabronis acting as if you’ve been in the Cage corner the whole time, and are happy for whatever success this movie ends up having.
Y’ALL are equivalent to the same bandwagon sports fans that only root for the teams when they’re winning and don’t go through the sludge with them during their losing seasons. And yes, for the last decade or so Nicolas Cage has been the cinematic equivalent of the New York Knicks. But shame on you. Y’ALL can profess to the world that you’ve been rooting for this man the whole time, but when Y’ALL look in the mirror.. you know who you really are inside.
On the surface, this seems like a film for the superfans of Cage, but it’s really not. At its heart, this is a rather goofy action comedy that will catch you by surprise, and is better than some of the films that go for the same type of humor. You will be pleasantly surprised.
THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT is in theatres now